Y'know how people call Rome the "Eternal City", well there's something more eternal than that - Peroni Lager.
I'm not kidding.
See Peroni is not just that beer brand that's constantly supplying that high life Instagram post with that ridiculously alluring Sunset Cinema event where folks pretentiously go to watch an outdoor movie casted on a giant screen by the beach. (I only say that because I have no one to go with.)
(Image Source: Shout.sg)
Long before the enviable photos, Peroni was actually founded by one Francesco Peroni in Vigevano, Italy, back in 1846. It was a big hit, as you might've guessed, which initially warranted a second brewery in Rome. But eventually the company decided it best to pack up and move altogether to Rome in 1864, six years before Rome was formally appointed as the capital of Italy in 1870.
Apparently even King Vittorio Emanuele II was a fan of the crisp lager.
He looks down for a nice crispy lager. (Image Source: Britannica)
In Italy, Peroni's big, and has long been associated with the high life - sponsoring the winning Italian stallion, Valentino Rossi, as well as other forms of motorsport.
While there are a couple of expressions under Peroni, the two most notable are simply "Peroni" and "Nastro Azzurro", the latter of which we'll review today.
It's a little ironic because photos then were all monochrome so you can't actually see the blue riband. (Image Source: Italian Liners)
"Nastro Azzurro" to save you pretentious folks sipping on Peroni by the beach with your photos that make me hate my life, actually means "Blue Ribbon", which is an obscure reference to the Blue Riband that donned the Italian ocean liner SS Rex back in 1933, an honour that was given for the passenger ship that could cross the Atlantic Ocean the fastest - as if any of you might've guessed that. This was a huge source of national pride for Italians and of course, as the most popular celebratory beer in town, an expression had to be created to mark the occasion.
Often associated with the la dolce vita life. (Image Source: Peroni)
In any case, today we'll be sipping on the Nastro Azzurro European-style pale lager - at home, mind you - which is canned at 5% ABV and is made using malted two-row spring barley and Italian maize, alongside Saaz-Saaz and Hallertau Magnum hops.
Bergamo where that maize comes from. (Image Source: Wikipedia)
According to Peroni, the Italian maize comes from the small town of Bergamo, and is actually called Nostrano dell'Isola and grows under some pretty unique conditions irrigated by freshly melted snow from the Italian Alps - it's this maize that gives Peroni a light golden color reminiscent of Prosecco. Meanwhile the two-row spring barley used is what's responsible for the unique crisp taste, while the two varietals of hops gives it the citrusy aroma.
Let's get it.
Peroni Nastro Azzurro Italiana Lager - Review
Color: Bright Gold
Aroma: Immediately fragrant aromas of honey, cereal milk, honey stars - bright yet sweet, it has a clean nose. Light touches of wheat, a very faint hoppiness, as well as a touch of tangerine. Generally bright and uplifting.
Taste: It’s creamier in texture, with a more mellowed sweetness - not nearly as sweet as its aromas. Here it goes alittle darker with butter biscuits and more on that citrusy orange along with the acidity that comes with the orange peels and pith. It flickers between orange and grapefruit, which is actually more dominant than the sweetness. The honey here is alittle more on manuka honey but remains very much backseat to the pronounced orange/grapefruit zest. There’s a maltiness as well of oats but again very mellow.
Finish: The zesty-ness on the palate crests and fades out into a more mellow but aromatic hoppy bitterness, sort of what you usually get from the heads of a beer (that foamy stuff at the top). Actually more foamy and creamy here, and leaves you with just a touch of green bitterness.
My Rating: 🧞♂️
Can I use one of my three wishes to be whisked away to Italy right now?
This was very enjoyable - a very solid, easy drink, kinda gives mediterranean beach vibes with that orange/grapefruit zest, which I really enjoyed how pronounced it was on the palate. It had a very light carbonation but a top a good, creamy body, which is always what you’re looking for in a top notch beer - that thick, rich texture, but at the same time remains refreshing.
There was a good amount of complexity as well for a commercially made beer - going from sweet and honeyed (a very nice clean and bright aroma) to more of a citrus zest on the palate and then progressing finally to a more bitter, crisp finish. The aftertaste is really nice as well - a light bitterness that gets you wanting more, which is again, what you want in a beer (not that cloying or overly dry finish that leaves you feeling like sh*t).
Good stuff, will definitely go for this if its available. A very easy to enjoy but solid (actually well-made) drinking beach side beer.